Harlem Renaissance Social Change Essay

1107 Words3 Pages
Harlem Renaissance: Social Change Through the Arts The Oxford Dictionary elucidates a Renaissance as “a revival of art and literature under the influence of classical models throughout the period.” The Harlem Renaissance took place in New York, it was a period of cultural celebration where African Americans moved up North and found opportunities to express themselves through the arts. Not only was their self-expression broadcasted as entertainment, but as well as a civil rights movement. As African Americans were still fighting for their recognition and rights in America, they wanted to white America what they were capable of. With that, society was forced to change it’s conceptions of African Americans. This lead to the Renaissance being…show more content…
The Harlem Renaissance was a time where the innovation of arts, literature, and music were important key factors that guided African Americans through their cultural awakening. To begin with, during the 1800s and Harlem Renaissance, art was one way to get the messages of social change across society. To start off, Thomas Wedgwood’s artwork “Am I Not A Man and A Brother”, which was created during slavery for abolitionists, symbolizes a constitutional issue regarding themselves in an artistic form. The artwork illustrates an image with an African American man, kneeling, with his hands chained while they were raised. Wedgwood purposely stressed the importance of equality between African Americans and White Americans . This idea of equality was a key concept during the Harlem Renaissance. Furthermore, influential artist, Aaron Douglas, had created an inspiring piece called "Aspiration" during slavery. It represents the struggle of…show more content…
To start, “Holiday in Harlem” by Chick Webb, a famous jazz a swing drummer, shows the idea of Harlem from it’s upbeat tune and lyrics. For illustrate, “Music music everywhere / Happiness is in the air / Not a soul has got a care / Holiday in Harlem” (Webb). To extend on this, Harlem was a time where Africans Americans were more open to express themselves after the transition from slavery to freedom. With this, came independence and happiness that they didn’t have during slavery, and Webb’s music ideally supports this. Pursuing this further, “In A Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington, a legendary jazz leader, offers the ideal traditions of jazz during the Renaissances. To include, “My heart's a lighter thing / Since you made this night a thing divine / In a sentimental mood / I'm within a world so heavenly / For I never dreamt that you'd / Be loving sentimental me” (Ellington). Ellington here takes the traditional route of a jazz song. The song has a slow tempo and drives emotion through every beat. This style was more sought out since the freedom of expression were easily presentable. Overall, music was another way for African Americans to express themselves towards the social

More about Harlem Renaissance Social Change Essay

Open Document